Why is energy efficiency out of the political debate?

by / Tuesday, 02 October 2012 / Published in Smartgrid-CI Blog

Or, at least, is not having the attention it deserves.

No matter whom the candidate is major discussion issues on energy policy are skipped out of this campaign. Energy Efficiency is one of them.
Incumbent president’s energy program puts a lot of emphasis on keeping oil price under control and on ultimately gaining energy independence from switching to renewable.
Mitt Romney’s energy program is almost fully directed at developing energy independence by switching from imported fuel to national sources of fossil energy. His plan touches new sources of energy but only at the end and through the very narrow window of creating competition between various sources of energy until the best one wins at the end.
Both programs can be downloaded from Smartgrid-CI’s free resource portal (go to the bottom of the page)
First learning; both candidates avoid important topics that are too controversial. One of them for instance is what should the government’s role be in facilitating a new energy policy? Some may say that we know their position about this role. Mitt Romney would favor minimum intervention or no intervention at all if possible. President Obama would   presumably be more of an interventionist. We all know the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Too bad we are not having a real a clear debate about this very important issue.
Second learning; more strikingly, both candidates are carefully avoiding discussion some very important topics and think energy efficiency is one of them.
If the goal of en energy policy is to improve the US trade balance while at the same time, lowering our gas emission and creating good paying jobs, energy efficiency would be the perfect candidate. On top of that, energy efficiency has very little negative impact on the environment, brings immediate result and is a much less risky choice from a business point of view than most other strategic energy move. Energy efficiency is a 100% proven approach.
And also, if energy policy is about long term thinking, a bold and comprehensive energy efficiency policy would be a perfect way to fill gap until renewable energy becomes a real alternative to fossils. OK, this is maybe only one option (developing national gas drilling is another one but less environment friendly), but an option that is at least worth a discussion. 
Patrick Levy

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